Menu Medicine: Oranges May Slash Stroke Risk in Women

By AltMed1-Peggy  


You know the old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away…”  New research shows oranges can be powerful too.


Studies have shown that high vitamin C intake and high intake of fruits and vegetables was linked to lower risk of stroke. Now new research shows that flavanones, a sub-type of flavonoid antioxidants found in oranges and other citrus fruits, also plays a role.


Women who consume high amounts of flavanones were 19 percent less likely to suffer ischemic stroke (the type caused by a blood clot) than women who consumed the lowest levels of flavanones, a new study reports.


Lead author Aedin Cassidy, PhD, professor of nutrition at the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School in Norwich (England, in the United Kingdom), explained in a news release that “flavonoids are thought to provide some of that protection through several mechanisms, including improved blood vessel function and an anti-inflammatory effect."


The researchers on Cassidy’s team analyzed data collected from the more than 69,000 nurses in the USA who provided their diet and health information for the Nurse’s Health Study. Oranges accounted for 82 percent of flavanone intake, and grapefruit accounted for 14 percent.


Does that mean women at risk of ischemic stroke should drink more orange juice or eat more oranges?  That’s not clear yet.


As is often the case that note a connection between a certain type of food and a health problem, more studies will have to be done before we know for sure or make recommendations or tell women at risk of ischemic stroke they should make sure their diets include oranges or orange juice, or tell them how much OJ or oranges to consume and how often.


The same applies to those who prefer grapefruit – but be sure to check with your doctor before you increase the amount of grapefruit or grapefruit juice you consume because, despite its other benefits, grapefruit can interact with some medicines. (See our explanation in a previous Q & A column.)


See American Stroke Association website for resources and more information about stroke.


Want to read the study? See: Dietary Flavonoids and Risk of Stroke in Women, published online before print February 23, 2012 in the journal Stroke.



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